China Lens on Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and India

Professor P Kharel- -
Shedding some of the subtleties known for its diplomatic approach, China under President Xi Jinping has made a series of uncharacteristically candid comments and in-depth reportage seeking to alert Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim against foreign forces trying to use them as geostrategic pawns. while sternly warning India against the United States’ moves termed “China containment”.
A series of reports and opinion pieces, including those by prominent scholars and academics published in the Global Times since the summer of 2021 until as late as last week, carries unambiguous messages to all concerned within and outside the South Asian neighborhood. The Global Times, the official news outlet of the Communist Party of China, has not hesitated to editorially endorse such individual expert views.
Pointing out that Indian border troops encroached on Chinese territory triggering the 2020 Doklam clashes, Nepal’s northern neighbor advises the Himalayan state to “be vigilant about India’s bid to encroach its territory” in Lipulekh and Kalapani as fait accompli.
OMINOUS EXPANSION: In recent years, India has also “tried to occupy and seize as much as possible in the Kalapani region at the junction of China, India and Nepal”. New Delhi is reported to have not only strengthened its military presence “throughout” the Kalapani area, of late, but also vastly enhanced the number of military facilities.
On the other hand, India “unreasonably opposed China’s construction of a road on its own territory at the junction of the China-India-Bhutan border and illegally crossed over into the Chinese side, which triggered the Doklam standoff”.
China attributes the Nepali media silence over the Indian encroachment partly to “the Deuba government’s pro-India diplomacy”.
Prof. Lin Minwang, of the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University, writes: “China has reasons to be highly wary of India’s move. During the 1962 China-India border war, India sent a large number of troops into Sikkim under the pretext of protecting Sikkim and stayed there afterwards, foreshadowing India’s annexation of Sikkim.” Nepal, however, has suffered the Indian occupation of Kalapani for not being able to persuade the Indian troops to leave the area. Beijing notes how India uses the US card by engaging in two recent major joint military exercises with American forces at sites deliberately chosen near the border with China.
Experts in China hailed as a “milestone” the October 2021 Memorandum of Understanding designed to break the deadlock persisting since 1984 on the border. Beijing blames New Delhi for its continued stalemate for four decades. The Global Times finds Bhutan’s Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, in power since 2018, has a different agenda compared with the previous government.
Ding Gang, a senior editor with the People’s Daily, thinks the US policy of all-encompassing containment of China is motivated by the objective of maximising its profits in the global market.
Regarding the recent general elections and the crucial stage of forming a new government, the Global Times observed that the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal, “once again chose to join forces with the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) to jointly obtain the ruling power.
Wang Jing, an associate researcher at the School of Marxism Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, describes the agreement between Dahal and Chairman of the CPN (UML) KP Sharma Oli as an effort at an ideologically focused approach to opposing imperialism, hegemony, and regional expansionism.
INTERFERENCE: In recent years, some extraterritorial forces, particularly the US, have exerted extensive and multifaceted interference and infiltration in Nepal in an attempt to manipulate and control the political situation in the country. The Global Times’ perceives the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the proposed draft of the State Partnership Program as schemes to exert control over Nepal through military cooperation. “Nepal’s high-altitude terrain can be used as a scientific and military intelligence monitoring point and missile base, covering Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, the Indian Ocean, and even the Persian Gulf. US interference attempts have seriously damaged Nepal’s political independence.”
The Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece accuses Washington of direct interference in the 2022 Nepalese general election by cosying up to and cultivating young agents within traditional political parties, “especially those with a Western educational background who support Western democracy and oppose communism”.
As an immediate neighbour of the two giant powers, Nepal faces a delicate situation calling for a proactively balanced policy, failing which could invite chilling consequences.
Text courtesy: The People’s Review

प्रतिकृया दिनुहोस / Comments

Reality Nepal